Now that WWE Fastlane 2018 is over and done with, it’s time for another reaction and Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast review.
As always, click the video at the bottom of this post to check out the podcast breakdown of everything on the show, but before we get into that, I want to give my overall primary emotions I felt by the end of the night.
First things first, the joy—might as well start with the cool things, right?
I was really happy to see AJ Styles retain the title, as any other outcome would have felt like an unnecessary detraction from the match that made the most sense. Adding a third person into the feud would have sullied it, in my opinion, and even though I’m not as sold on Shinsuke Nakamura being the top guy on SmackDown from a business point of view, I am still curious about the match and want to see it, so yay.
Also, I’m glad The Bludgeon Brothers came out of this looking really strong. Since they weren’t on the card and they were clearly being set up to take part in the tag title hunt, this was a great way to have them make an impact while also preventing either The Usos or The New Day from having to look weak with a loss. Nice job.
On top of this, I wasn’t fully expecting a Randy Orton title win. I thought it was a possibility, but I really leaned more toward The New Day capturing the titles and the United States Championship match being the one that ended in a no-contest, so that was a bit surprising to me.
Another reaction I had, though, was an intense feeling of “meh” or downright disinterest in a few of the segments.
It’s hard to get invested in a random six-man tag team match on the pre-show, even if you like nearly all of the people involved and wished they were up to something better. It’s even harder to try to care about a women’s tag team match that has a bunch of awkward slip-ups and is completely meaningless.
I also found myself not caring about the Charlotte Flair and Ruby Riott situation and just waiting until the Asuka announcement, which obviously didn’t resonate with me the same as it would with people who are more casual fans who don’t try to predict every little move. There’s no doubt that it’s more fun to be a fan who doesn’t have a job analyzing things, as you can just sit back and enjoy the shocking moments more.
Granted, it’s a better move than the alternative of trying to get something out of the regular SmackDown roster for the WrestleMania card, but instead of getting pumped up with excitement for Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair, I was laughing at how The Empress of Tomorrow seemed to be having a competition with Flair on who could breathe heavier, despite how Flair was the one who just wrestled a match. Very strange.
Swinging the pendulum back around to a more positive thing, though, I was intrigued by the interactions between Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Shane McMahon. The rumors going around that Shane could fight Dolph Ziggler had me paying attention to any Ziggler/McMahon interactions, and when Owens hit that superkick on Shane, I thought “well, there goes that, but what is the next step in this feud?”
Now, I do need to tune into SmackDown to find out if this is setting up a Triple Threat match, a reunion between Owens and Zayn with McMahon finding a tag team partner to help him fight those two off, or something else.
For the most part, the blue brand is the weaker show in terms of importance, even if week-to-week, it can be the more entertaining, depending on what segments and matches are booked for those two hours. I don’t think Fastlane is going to do anything that will convince people to tune in who weren’t tuning in already, but I also don’t think it did any real harm to the product, outside of possibly Shinsuke Nakamura’s push needing more effort behind it than if they would have rolled with it right after the Royal Rumble victory.
I’m intrigued enough to keep my eye on a few feuds, but I’m also not getting some butterflies in my stomach about WrestleMania in a good way. Right now, it’s more of a cold and logical “just tell me what the plans are and then I’ll decide” type of deal, and a “throw in the towel and give up cause this Mania is going to suck” or “it’s hard to contain the excitement for something that will be amazing.”
In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging along on this Road to WrestleMania in the hopes that it takes a few twists and turns that lead to an even better show come April.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Fastlane 2018 with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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